CANADA - A research scientist nutrition with the Prairie Swine Centre is advising pork producers to be aware of the potential for mycotoxin contamination of feed grains, writes Bruce Cochrane.
"From Field to Feeder-Dealing With Mycotoxins in the Grow Finish Barn" was discussed last week as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2015.
Mycotoxins are produced by molds or fungi and their effects on animal health will range from slow growth and poor performance to feed refusal or vomiting, to effects on the immune or reproductive systems or even death, depending on the mycotoxin and its level of inclusion.
Dr Denise Beaulieu, a research scientist nutrition with the Prairie Swine Centre, says indications are that contamination isn't as bad this year as last year but the most prevalent mycotoxins in western Canada are Deoxynivalenol, or DON, and Ergot.
Dr Denise Beaulieu-Prairie Swine Centre:
The key challenge is if you want to know the level there are tests that can be done.
The issue is that, because they're being produced by moulds, they can congregate in different areas of for example a truck, maybe in the bin that would just be up against a wall so the big issue is getting a sample that is representative of the entire load.
Because mycotoxins can have deleterious effects at really really small amounts, we're talking parts per million, parts per billion, getting a very good representative sample is the key.
The best sample is to take many small samples from throughout your load.
You combine that and mix that very well and then subsample it.
You want to have a sample that represents the load because the big issue is mycotoxins have damaging effects at very small levels.
Parts per billion, it's even hard to imagine the toxicity of some of these chemicals.
Dr Beaulieu says mycotoxins are out there so producers need to vigilant.
She notes chronic low levels could be having some negative effects but very subtle effects so you need to be very watchful.
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